Dangers of Religion

Dangers of Religion

Date Posted:
October 2005

Rinpoche gave the following advice to a woman who had been the president of a Native American nation in the Midwest and one of the leaders of many Native Americans. She came to speak with Rinpoche because she had some confusion about certain Native American religious beliefs.

People always advertise their goods as the best: “Mine is best!” How do you decide what to choose? What are you going to believe? If you make the wrong choice, you will be cheated. You will obtain something of poor quality and lose out. The solution is, you should use your own wisdom, and learn to differentiate the qualities of the goods. It is similar in the case of religion.

Religion can be extremely dangerous. If you choose a mistaken path, you can be cheated by it your whole life. Not only that, you are also cheated for many future lives, because you will make mistakes in this life, and how your future turns out depends on this life. Whether your future lives will be good or bad depends on how you lead this one. You might create an unfortunate rebirth and suffering in hell or animal realms. If you have incorrect beliefs, believing wrong things are right, like believing that there is no such thing as liberation from cyclic existence, then that affects your next life. It can be very dangerous, not only for yourself, but also if you lead others according to wrong views. You can bring so many sentient beings to suffering in the lower realms, to hell and to rebirth as hungry ghosts.

People tend to believe their religion is the best; however, it is extremely important to analyze this with wisdom. You need to develop your wisdom.

Upon analysis, we find Buddhism is extremely beneficial. It is able to discriminate between right and wrong, not only in terms of religions, but for anything in life. If parents have knowledge of Buddhism, they can judge what is right and wrong for their children. Otherwise, children can get caught up in the causes of suffering and problems in this life, and especially in future lives. So it is very helpful to understand Buddhism. Even if you don’t practice it, it gives such a clear view. You can look at anything and determine what is right and what is mistaken. Even if you are not Buddhist, this knowledge can help a lot.

The essence of religion should be compassion. Anything that harms others, such as sacrificing animals, is not good. Don’t do things that harm others. If you harm others, other sentient beings will harm you. If you benefit others, you will receive benefit from other sentient beings. This is the law of nature, like when you plant a seed and it becomes a tree with branches and fruit. You can practice another religion, but don’t harm others.

You should pass on your knowledge and wisdom to others. Pass on whatever is correct, and educate them to have compassion and positive attitudes that enable them to help others. This way, people will experience so much happiness in this life and in their future lives as a result of their actions, which is the same as good karma.

Religion is about happiness, not suffering. Real religions bring happiness and peace into your life and in the lives of others.

With love and many prayers...